Florida Keys backcountry fishing report March 15 2014

Posted on 3/14/2014
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Hello everyone! Couldn't ask for better weather last weekend and first part of the week in the Florida Keys backcountry. Really calm conditions made it tuff for some and really good for others, depending what you where targeting. We had some fantastic days of patch reef fishing, probably releasing over 25 big Groupers! Also ran in to one of the best Hogfish bites of the year with daily limits caught of fish up to 6 pounds, also caught Mackerel, Snappers, Porgies and Pompano until our arms couldn't take it any longer. The warmer calm afternoon conditions spiked up a big Tarpon push throughout our area with both the fly guys and bait fisherman reporting multiple catches. Redfish, Snook, Tarpon, Trout and many more are all available through out the Everglades National Park. Mostly every island and their adjacent flats will have some Redfish lurking on them. The trick has been to get them to eat, many guides have been reporting plenty of shots and lots of refusals. Look for the pot holes, moats and deeper shorelines to be holding some Snook as well. Cast jerk baits and skimmer jigs for the best action. The bays and basins east of Flamingo all the way to Key Largo are providing great action with Trout, Ladyfish, Jacks and a few Bluefish. Look for mullet muds or cloudy water, cast scented soft plastics like Berkley Gulps under a popping cork and let the action begin. Move around if your not getting the bites, you will know pretty quick when you are on the right mud. Don't be surprise if your cork goes down and a big Tarpon starts jumping out of the water, it's been happening lately. The deeper channels around Flamingo are holding some Tarpon and Sharks. A dead bait on the bottom is a great way to hook up with one of this big fish. Redfish, Snook and Trout can be found in the runoffs on the lower stages of the outgoing tide. Shrimp and Pilchards have been getting the job done very well. 
The deeper channels from oyster keys to first national bank are starting to hold Tarpon and big Sharks, live or dead baits on the bottom will get the bites. Trout and many other rod benders are also available in the same area.
The creeks and shorelines from Cape Sable north are holding Redfish, Snook and Tarpon. Shrimp, Pinfish, Pilchards or artificial will make for great catches. Cobia, Permit, Tarpon and many more can show up at anytime while fishing your favorite wreck out in the Gulf. Keep an eye on the many trap buoys for a laid up Tripletail on your way to and back from your destination specially west of Sandy Key.
Tarpon season is here and many boats are coming back with great success stories. Look for laid up fish on the incoming tides around the many banks bayside of Islamorada. It's a great time of the year to catch a Tarpon on Fly. Make sure that when you are coming or going to the backcountry you don't get to close to the local banks cause most likely you will be running over the fish specially if you see a skiff poling around the area. Get your castnets ready and catch some live mullet for some great Tarpon fishing around the local bridges and channels from Islamorada south. Dead mullet on the bottom will also get some action. There has also been some big Jacks terrorizing the mullet schools in the same areas and also eating the live mullet while Tarpon fishing. The Bonefish and Permit fishing keeps getting better. Look for Bonefish to be tailing around Oceanside flats on the lower stages of the tides. Fish will be mudding and pushing wakes on the incoming tides. A live shrimp will not be refuse. Get a small crab ready and work the deeper edges of Oceanside flats and bayside banks for cruising Permits as this fish are looking to fatten up for their spring spawning. The winds are forecasted to come down a bit for the weekend but it seems that we are entering in to a windier spring time pattern soon. So wether it's a trophy fish you are looking for or just lots of fun fishing action the Florida Keys backcountry is the place to be. 
Captain Juan Garcia